The future smelled like burning metal. The air, which was a horrid, sick-looking off-yellow, was thick with smog, and my first few breaths were labored as I struggled to get used to the new environment.
Although the buildings were mostly who I remembered it, everything was considerably more…dismal. Maybe my outlook had just changed?
I looked at the sizable heap of scraps and shook my head. No, not even my pessimism could be responsible for this; the time man was right — times had changed. That, of course, made me all the more worried for my sister. Things had been bad enough even without the yellow sky.
We decided to return to the spot where it all began — the time machine. Even after all these years, its metal edges still gleamed. Although the flowers surrounding it had grown taller and lusher, nothing else had changed, and in an instant I was transported back to a time when I was fifteen and scared of the world.
Now, I was only scared of myself. I wondered what the younger Korra would have to say about me now — I still had the same nasty temper, but I had definitely hardened. I glanced at Raf and frowned. He’d stuck with me even though I’d attacked him time and time again. He was a good friend — better than I deserved.
I didn’t have time to think about that now, though. I pulled the vial from my pocket and winced at its contents — there was so little of the potion. We’d have to make do.
Thankfully, Haven was empty when we arrived, and I was able to finish brewing the potion without disturbance. Raf stood guard as I carefully crushed the glowing green flowers with a copper pestle and sprinkled them clockwise into the potion.
I was all too aware of our limited time; the rest of the witches were out celebrating the full moon, but I had no idea when they’d return. I didn’t know how to explain the potion; we weren’t due to attempt the ritual again for another month. I also didn’t know if I could face them, knowing that the mirror had accused the coven of murdering my mentor.
“Are you eating enough? You look skinnier, Korra,” Mom said.
I ought to be asking her that; although she was all dressed up for a bridal shoot, she was looking more tired than ever. I worried about her; I knew she’d taken Nora’s loss badly, and, unlike me, she didn’t have rage to fuel her. Maybe it was that tiredness that compelled me to reveal something of the truth.
“Mom,” I said, withdrawing the metal bracelet from my coat pocket, “I want to show you something.”
“I know you don’t want to hear this, but I really don’t trust her,” Raf said.
“Mm,” I said, only half-listening.
I’d felt bad for going off on him the other day, so I’d invited him over for some peace-making waffles. Growing up, Mom had always made — or, at least, attempted to make — waffles whenever things were difficult. It was a recipe passed down for generations; apparently, it could be traced all the way to my great-grandfather Apollo Windsor. Either way, the waffles were delicious (even if, in Mom’s case, they were usually burnt).
It was weird to be back home. I’d spent the vast majority of the past month with Haven, which was the name of Mako’s coven, and now, being in the backyard where I – and Nora – had grown up felt…odd.
I hadn’t even told my parents I was here; they were both away on business trips, and I hadn’t thought it worth bothering them. I was only here to collect some herbs from their garden. White lilies were best harvested just before dawn, which meant I was yawning every other minute as I forced my sleep-heavy limbs to move.
“How?” I demanded. “How can you help me save Nora? Time travel isn’t possible — even for witches.”
Behind me, I felt Raf shift again, but I paid him no attention. I feared if I looked at him, I would punch him or scream — or both. I’d trusted him, and knowing that he’d known what I was going through the whole time I was fumbling into the supernatural world and had still done nothing was infuriating and embarrassing.